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My Go-to Travel Jacket: Patagonia Nano Puff Review

The Patagonia Nano Puff jacket is SO lightweight and looks SO thin, it’s hard to believe it has the power to keep you warm at all. But turns out this whole compressible lightweight jacket thing is pretty magical – and perfect for traveling.

I had always stayed away from jackets like this because they’re crazy expensive. I’m grateful my boyfriend got me the Nano Puff for my birthday two years ago because I’ve had the chance to discover how much value you really get from this jacket and why it’s worth its price tag.

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My review of the Patagonia Nano Puff

My boyfriend bought me a Patagonia Nano Puff ultra-lightweight synthetic jacket in an XS in black for my birthday in 2015, right before my trip to Peru. I was initially disappointed the fit wasn’t ‘sexier’ but performance-wise the jacket was super impressive.

I brought the Nano Puff with me to Puno, where I lived for two months while conducting research. We were living up at altitude (3825 m) without heating, and I’m naturally freezing cold all the time anyways, so I actually brought a full-on down winter coat too just in case.

Let’s talk warmth

The Patagonia Nano Puff with just a base layer is great for temperatures in the high 40’s-60’s degrees F. For me, once it dips below that, I need to add a fleece layer in between my base and the jacket. (And I’m cold enough in 60’s F weather to need to wear an outer layer, I know some people aren’t.)

Wearing Nano Puff jacket in Baltimore picking apples
Here I am wearing the Nano Puff at a farm outside Baltimore. It was probably in the mid-60’s on this day.

I ended up wearing the Nano Puff most of the time while in Peru, and would layer it with a Northface fleece underneath when I needed more warmth. I wore the down coat a few times in the beginning of my stay, but found the Nano Puff met my needs better.

The Nano Puff simply offered more flexibility than the down coat, even when we were going out to the field at dawn, the coldest part of the day (temps in the low 30’s): it didn’t have the bulk of the down coat and was easier to move around in. I could layer it up or down and adjust the layers throughout the day as the sun came out.

Wearing my Nano Puff while hiking in the cloud forest during the Salkantay Trek in Peru
Wearing my Nano Puff while hiking in the cloud forest during the Salkantay Trek in Peru

Speaking of which, in comparison to something like a fleece, the Nano Puff breathes incredibly well. I find that it insulates me when I’m cold but if I get hot, I don’t get all sweaty and sticky in my armpits. This makes it an amazing jacket for any outdoor activities, like hiking.

I took the jacket with me on a five-day hiking trip on the Salkantay trail while in Peru. We encountered a wide range of temperatures – from the 30’s F to low 70’s F – and it performed perfectly.

The Nano Puff women’s jacket fit

Like other athletic jackets, the Nano Puff runs a bit roomy to allow for layering underneath. There’s elastic around the wrists to seal in heat and keep the sleeves out of your way, as well as an adjustable elastic around the bottom of the jacket to fit your girth.

I’m super tiny (5’1″ and just under 100 lbs) and the sleeves on the women’s XS are a touch too long for me, so I rolled them up once. I didn’t love that I had to do this – I would prefer the sleeve length to fit. But I hardly notice it anymore – the sleeves stay cuffed and they don’t affect the functionality or look of the jacket.

With the XS, I still have room for a base layer and fleece underneath, and can put a waterproof shell over it.

Funnily enough, my parents also ended up getting Nano Puffs for themselves. My mom has the women’s jacket in a small and my dad has the men’s vest in a large.

Me and my parents all wearing our Patagonia Nano Puff jackets
A very Patagonia Nano Puff family (not sponsored – I wish!)

Other thoughts on the Nano Puff features

I love that I can wash it and hang it to dry and it will be dry within hours. This works really well when traveling if it’s the only outer layer you have.

The only downside I experienced is that some of the stitching in the seams came out during a machine wash in Peru. I’ve heard of others with this same complaint, but I’ve found this is purely aesthetic and hasn’t affected the performance of the jacket.

Luckily you can take in your jacket to Patagonia be repaired or replaced. And otherwise, I recommend washing on gentle or hand-washing it.

Womens Patagonia Nano Puff review showing loose threads

The Nano Puff rolls up into the tiniest, lightweight little ball, which is perfect for backpacking or just packing light in general.

The Nano Puff compresses into its own pocket. Scissors for scale.
The Nano Puff compresses into its own pocket. I’ve included some scissors for scale (it was what I had on hand at the time, haha).

In conclusion

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight and compact
  • Breathes well
  • Warm! Much warmer than it looks
  • Quick drying
  • Useful across multiple seasons – can be layered easily
  • Keeps you warm when wet (because it’s synthetic and not down)

Cons:

  • Stitching in the seams comes loose
  • Not the most feminine fit
  • Expensive
Wearing my nanopuff on a hike to the statue overlooking Puno and Lake Titicaca
Wearing my Nano Puff on a hike to the statue overlooking Puno and Lake Titicaca. It was probably in the 50’s, but very sunny this day.

I’ve really seen the value you get from the Patagonia Nano Puff – I continue to wear it even when I’m not traveling during all seasons except summer. It’s one of the best and most useful gifts I’ve ever been given. If you’re buying it for yourself, it’s definitely an investment but I’ve had it for two years and expect it will last me many more.

Check out the Nano Puff at REI.com so you can stay warm on your next trip without lugging around heavy outerwear.

Looking for the perfect jacket for travel? Check out my Patagonia Nano Puff jacket review here.

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